Sharett Reports in Israel on Situation of Jews in Latin America

Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, reported at a press conference today that a complex of socio-economic problems gripping the Latin American continent was the main cause undermining the position of the Jewish communities in that area. He made his report on his return to Israel from an extensive tour of the area and a visit to the United States.

He said that the economic structure which is under growing pressure was creating a situation affecting the population stratum of which the Jews of Latin America were a part and to which they were most vulnerable. He asserted that anti-Semitic manifestations were an “accompanying factor” which added to the gravity of the Jewish situation but that it was not the main problem.

While he did not assume that there would be a mass migration from Latin American countries to Israel in the near future, he added, he did believe that there would be increased immigration from those countries to an extent not previously experienced. He said this prospect would pose to both the communities and to Israel a new Zionist test.

He emphasized that there was a need to intensify Jewish educational activities in the Latin American communities along with preparing new groups of emissaries and instructors to be sent there from Israel. At the same time, he said, additional efforts would be needed in the area of absorption of immigrants in Israel.

SEES NEW PHASE OF ACTIVITY FOR AMERICAN ZIONIST COUNCIL

In response to questions about Zionist developments in the United States developing from changes in the American Zionist Council, he said he believed the Zionist Council was at the crossroads in which “one way leads to decline and complete disintegration, and the other can open a new phase of fruitful activity.”

He also said that if the American Zionist Council, was to continue to exist, “it must stand on its own feet without depending on outside help. The fact that it will no longer be in charge of departments and in possession of a large staff will be a change for the better.”

He suggested also that the Council should concentrate on hammering out and following through on a common policy for all Zionist groups and parties, serving as a central source of initiative and direction. He said its tasks should be to assert the Zionist position regarding problems confronting American Jewry, build a united Zionist front in local communities and direct Jewish communal activity in various areas.

Among these he mentioned the extension of Jewish education, reinforcement of the United Jewish Appeal and the Jewish National Fund and assistance to Aliyah. He asserted that the question of the Council’s effectiveness in these areas was not one of budgetary problems but of mobilization of forces and application of energy, above all, of purposeful unity in Zionist ranks.

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